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After Flub, Governor Perry Heading To Letterman

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NEW YORK (CBSDFW.COM/AP)Texas Governor Rick Perry is scheduled to appear on the “Late Show with David Letterman” on Thursday to talk about his brain freeze a day earlier on stage with his GOP rivals.

The republican presidential candidate will present tonight’s Top Ten List. The appearance will be Perry’s first visit to the CBS broadcast.

During the Wednesday debate, Perry said he would eliminate three federal agencies but struggled to name them.

“Commerce, Education and the — what’s the third one there? Let’s see,” the Texas governor said.

Perry’s rivals tried to bail him out, suggesting the Environmental Protection Agency.

“EPA, there you go,” Perry said, seemingly taking their word for it.

But that wasn’t it. And when pressed, the candidate drew another blank.

“Seriously?” moderator John Harwood, one of the CNBC debate hosts, asked. “You can’t name the third one?”

“The third agency of government I would do away with — the Education, the Commerce. And let’s see. I can’t. The third one, I can’t,” Perry said. “Oops.”

Perry later said he meant to call for the elimination of the Energy Department.

He also acknowledged that he had “stepped in it” during the debate.

Perry is trying to turn the stumble into an opportunity. He is asking supporters to pitch in a few dollars for every agency they would abolish. He also made appearances on five major network morning shows Thursday.

“I think I’m kind of like most Americans; there are so many agencies of government that we’d like to forget that the Department of Energy was one of those,” he told NBC’s Today Show Anchor Ann Curry. “Seriously, the issue wasn’t about whether I could sing off a line of the number of agencies; it truly gets to the core of the matter that we’ve got so much government out there.”

On The Early Show on CBS, a smiling Perry defended himself similarly to co-anchor Chris Wragge.

“I readily admit I may not be the best debater or the smoothest politician on that stage, but what I am is an individual of substance when it comes to creating an environment where jobs can be, in fact , the focus of the entrepreneur class out there that are creating the jobs Americans really need,” he said.

On CNN’s American Morning, Perry again tried to sidestep his “brain-freeze” and focus on his message.

“The amount of money just in administrative overhead, taking those agencies and consolidating them down or doing away with them in the case of education, commerce and energy … makes a lot of sense,” he told anchor Christine Romans.

Fox and Friends zinged the governor, telling him “Whatever you do, don’t watch TV. There are already pundits saying you’re toast” and Good Morning America on ABC labeled the flub a “debacle” and a “53-second meltdown on camera.”

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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